Category: Living in Shanghai

Cooking Classes at CieCAS

Cooking Classes at CieCAS

For my birthday, Thorben got me cooking classes at CieCAS. CieCAS, or the Center of innovative and entrepreneurial Culinary Arts and Services, offers professional training courses for people working in F&B but also team building and small, private cooking classes. We did 3 evening classes and they were all super fun and tasty. Each time, it was just the 2 of us plus the awesome chefs Francois and Evo. The last one was yesterday and we just received the pictures, so here is all the yummy food we made.

Homemade Pasta and Sauces

For our first class, we made our own pasta. We made the dough by hand, put it through a pasta machine roughly 458 times and then cut half into tagliatelle and turned the other half into ravioli. It’s quite a process, but really fun and rewarding.

To go with it, we made 4 different sauces: tomato, vegan Bolognese, meat Bolognese and mushroom & cream. All of them were delicious. After 3 hours of work, we got to sit down in their dining room and got served all the food we made. Well, not really all of it. We got to take the rest home and in fact made so much that after eating pasta twice, we still have some in the freezer πŸ™‚

I have since used some of the tricks we learned to make the best tomato sauce I have ever made, so it was definitely worth it. Now all we need is a pasta machine …

Vegetarian and Vegan Superfoods

Our second night was all about meatless cooking and using some superfoods. We made a total of 4 courses: a foamed potato and leek soup, stuffed mushrooms over mini ratatouille, risotto with spirulina and berry muffins on acai sauce with ice cream.

The soup was quite heavy on the butter and cream because we put it into one of those things you use cartridges of nitrogen to foam things. My mom has one at home for making whipped cream and now I learned it can also be used on soup that has enough fat content πŸ™‚

For the mushrooms we used Z-Rou, a plant-based meat alternative. Not quite the real deal but pretty tasty. I have since seen Z-Rou on 2 restaurant menus, looks like it’s gaining popularity. The mini ratatouille worked well with it and Thorben got to show of his chopping skills, which are much better than his flipping things in the pan with his wrist skills πŸ˜‰

Our main dish, the risotto, was completely vegan, using spirulina for a seafood taste and nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor. I may look sceptical in the picture, but it was really tasty! Important lesson from the cooking classes so far: White wine goes inside everything! Soup, sauces, ratatouille, risotto – just add wine!

The berry muffins made with almond and coconut flour, soy milk and coconut oil with acai sauce were also vegan – but the ice cream wasn’t πŸ™‚

Another great meal plus we got leftover soup, ratatouille and muffins to take home.

Southeast Asian Food

Our last cooking class had the theme Southeast Asia. We were already greeted with a green papaya salad as a snack and a cold cut platter – not southeast Asian but still delicious. After some snacking (and wine) we got to work. First, we made a chicken marinade and peanut sauce for the starter. I love peanut sauce and I was surprised how many ingredients are inside. The result was amazing. We also got started on cooking the glutinous rice for the sticky rice with mango, my favorite Thai dessert. Next was the sauce for the Pad Thai and preparations for the fried rice. Thorben braved the wok station to fry up the rice and noodles, while I stuck to less fiery tasks like decorating plates, grilling the satay and dishing up the desserts. As always, the food was great, both last night and for lunch today πŸ™‚

It was a really fun and tasty birthday present. In fact, we enjoyed the evenings so much, we may just make it a monthly thing!

teamLab Borderless

teamLab Borderless

Thursday was Dragon Boat Festival in China, which meant a 3-day weekend (and that Sunday is a working day but I’m trying not to think about that today). We took advantage of the day off to use the tickets for teamLab Borderless I got for my birthday.

teamLab Borderless is a museum or digital art exhibition with lots of lights, projections, sounds and smells. They have it in different places and Shanghai is one of them. It was really fun exploring the different rooms and of course taking lots and lots of pictures. The first few areas we wandered through worked mostly with moving projections and had a lot of flowers and colors.

Next was a room full of blinking lights. It had long strips with LEDs hanging from the ceiling with some paths to walk through. Inside, it simulated rain storms and they lit them in lots of different colors.

To take a little break, we went to En Tea House. Your drink becomes part of the art work and has projections on it which change when you drink from your cup or move it. Technology is so cool.

The next areas we saw worked with shapes: One room had mushroom like statues on the ground and you had to walk through them. The one after that was full of glass spheres which move around on a mini roller coaster.

The last room we explored was one of my favorites. It was a full of lamps changing colors and mirrors. I may have hit my head on one of the lamps taking pictures – worth it.

It was a really cool, immersive and very pretty exhibition. An excellent birthday present and great first day of the long weekend πŸ™‚

Thirty

Thirty

So, last month I turned thirty. The big 3-0. I think I’m still not ready but I am ready to share some pictures πŸ™‚ My birthday wasn’t as I had planned, but nonetheless, it was a really good one. I’m very glad that despite this whole COVID-19 mess I could still do some fun things and celebrate with amazing people. I know many people aren’t that lucky this year.

The celebration encompassed 3 parts: A night at the W hotel, a small birthday dinner on the actual day and a big birthday party the weekend after.

A little Staycation

We came back from our week-long China trip the day before my birthday and went straight to the W. They still had the same package going on that we enjoyed in March: Happy hour, massages and breakfast, so this is where I turned 30. Our room overlooked the Bund and the Pearl tower – and that view never gets old. At midnight, we had cake and champagne with my family over WeChat video. Definitely the coolest cake I’ve had so far πŸ™‚

The next day, I got a special birthday pancake and we spent a bit of time by the pool. Pretty good start to the day, I’d say.

Birthday Dinner

In the evening, we had dinner at our place. Thorben cooked and I made appetizers and cocktails. The pineapple-tini might just be my new favorite drink! It was a really fun and yummy night with friends. And yes, one should always wear a tiara on their birthday πŸ™‚

Thankfully, I had the next day off – both to recover and to have lunch with Tim, who had archery duties the night before.

Birthday Party

The weekend after, I celebrated again with the whole gang at Tacolicious, my favorite taco place in Shanghai. Fitting to the occasion, I think we were exactly 30 people. My VIPs from Germany and Singapore were definitely missed, so I was happy to have almost all of my Shanghai VIPs there πŸ™‚ We had loads of good food and margaritas and a lot fun with a polaroid camera.

The night went on at a salsa party, another club and ended with 3 am pizza – none of it documented thankfully πŸ˜‰ I think I just might have to have another big party next year!

April

April

I’m a bit behind with my blogging, so I thought I’d do just a post about the whole month of April. Due to the current situation we didn’t leave the country or even the city, so it was a month full of Shanghai adventures.

Qingming Festival Weekend

The month started with a long weekend due to Qingming festival. Our friends Ling and Hutch had us over for dinner at their place. Ling first did a Chinese tea ceremony with us and then we ate lots and lots of food they had made. Friends who can make great food are the best friends πŸ™‚

The next day, we had an early birthday brunch for Thorben at the W hotel. As always, the food and views were awesome. We had fun taking pictures on the terrace. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing the skyline.

On the final day of the 3 day weekend, we had a little GrΓΌnkohl party at our house. Originally, we had planned it for 12 people the day Thorben got back from Germany. Due to the rules at the time, we couldn’t have anyone over and it all went into the freezer. Half of it has been completely demolished now and hopefully round 2 will happen soon πŸ™‚

Thorben’s Birthday

We extended the long weekend by another day to celebrate Thorben’s birthday a bit more. We had some cake at home and then dinner with friends at our favorite Chinese place, Lotus Eatery.

Easter

Easter Sunday was exciting for Thorben and many of our friends because that’s when archery finally started again. To properly celebrate the occasion, Thorben brought Brezeln to archery – it was a big success. Overall, Thorben was on a Brezel mission and made some 4 times in April … Someone is trying to steal my title of baking queen of the household πŸ™‚

I had a great, sunny Easter brunch with friends, ate some ice cream, went pack to Jing’An Sculpture Park and then stopped by to watch some archery. It’s fun to watch but I’m definitely sticking with not playing and staying bruise free on the side lines. Also, we had a family Easter WeChat Video conference πŸ™‚

3 More Birthdays

Besides Thorben’s birthday, we went to 3 more celebrations. 2 belated ones, now that everyone is back in town and places are open again, and 1 on the actual birthday.

For Boramy’s belated birthday we had brunch, which turned into drinks, which turned into ordering pizza at her place and binge watching Hulu πŸ™‚ Sadly, I neglected to take pictures of any people. I guess I was too busy eating and having fun!

For Lars’ birthday, we had dinner at a Sichuan restaurant and then there was cake, which means, my all time favorite birthday tradition. Not just eating the cake (which is pretty great, too), but cutting the head of the man, who is drawn onto the cake while everyone screams. Gotta love Denmark.

And finally, for Kate’s very belated birthday, we went for drinks and dinner at Heritage. It was my third time there this year – the food is so good! Also, there was cake (but no killed cake men) and a photographer, so there are actually more pictures of people than of food.

More Lunches and Dinners

Besides supporting the local economy and going out to eat, we also cooked and baked. I tried out some new recipes as my weekly meal prep continues. I stopped going to the canteen because it was operating on a very limited scale for a while due to Covid-19. And now I don’t want to go back, so cooking it is.

Boramy had us over for amazing lasagna, veggies, dips and salad, plus she made her version of Disney’s Dole whip. It was super good and I managed to sneak another piece of lasagna for lunch (Yes, that’s Thorben in the background finishing up a call while we had Prosecco).

Freddy made us a Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern lunch plus his grandma’s lemon pie. Yum. His compound is a crazy urban jungle, I think it’s the largest in Shanghai. Also, it’s right by the river and you have a great view of the “1000 trees”, a cool building on Suzhou creek, which is still under construction.

Tiger King

The final weekend of the month was really only a Saturday for me, because Sunday was a make up working day, due to the upcoming May holiday.

We made the most of the one free day … by first having lunch with Freddy (see above) and going to another birthday, that’s number 5 for April. To celebrate his birthday a couple of days early, Hutch had a Tiger King viewing party. Which meant we watched 4 episodes of Tiger King while dressed up in questionable outfits, and then went out for dinner.

So that was April. Looking back, quite a lot of things happened. I guess Shanghai just never gets boring. πŸ™‚

Not pictured: A couple of girls’ nights, more dinners, WeChat video workouts with my sisters, trying to plan a trip for May, game nights, a Zoom call to Rich in Paris, still wearing a mask everyday … and we also went to work (with masks on).

It’s Spring!

It’s Spring!

The weekend before last was the first day of spring, both in the calendar but also in Shanghai. While we had some nice, warmer days before, that Saturday it was 25 degrees and sunny. I spent half of the day outside walking around, had some ice cream and enjoyed the sunshine. Thorben gave me a quick intro into his smaller camera so I practiced my photography skills on the pretty pretty spring flowers and blossoms.

Around the neighborhood

I took a walk around the neighborhood first, went to a small park close by and then spent way too much time admiring the tulips panted next to the entrance of our metro station.

I met up with Thorben afterwards and we walked over to Jing’An Sculpture park with some photo stops and one ice cream stop on the way. Somehow holding a fancy camera made me appreciate so many little details I just had to photograph πŸ™‚

Jing’An Sculpture Park

Jing’An Sculpture Park is not far from us but this was the first time I’ve been there. As the name says, the park houses many different sculptures and right now also huge tulip fields. The trees are also starting to bloom, which was lovely.

My photography and especially editing skills still need work but it was really fun. I ended my little spring excursion at Jing’An Park – 16.000 steps later.

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Nuk! Ich hoffe, die virtuellen Blumen haben dir gefallen πŸ™‚

Staycation

Staycation

After most of our friends returned to Shanghai and finished their home quarantine, we decided to do a Staycation together. We hadn’t seen each other much this year, no one is allowed to really go anywhere plus many places are running specials, so it was the perfect opportunity. Two weeks ago our destination was the W Hotel located on the North Bund. This is the whole crew during Happy Hour and again after breakfast:

We booked a special package with happy hour, massages and breakfast the next day and it was amazing. The hotel was not full , so we had the spa to ourselves and we all got upgraded into incredible rooms with an even more incredible view! Being on the Bund, we set an alarm for 5:30 to watch the sunrise … me mostly from the comfort of our bed. I only got up a couple times to take a picture πŸ™‚